Any doubts as to the condition, bravery and skills of elite-level motocross racers were again allayed after another thrilling display in 2019 MXGP. This time the stage was the rutted and ‘scarred’ hard-pack of Teutschenthal for the Grand Prix of Germany and the tenth round of eighteen in the FIM World Championship.
Barrelling and daringly fast outings in Russia and Latvia had the unfortunate side effect of increasing the injury-list – so much so that Germany took place without the world champions of the two previous seasons – but that didn’t ease the tension on throttle cables at the age-old site close to the city of Halle and ‘submerged’ in a shallow dip walled by pockets of sun-smashed fans, 35,000 of them in fact.
Championship leader Tim Gajser was the top runner around the Teutonic jumps but was followed by Arnaud Tonus (a fifth podium on the bounce) and Wilvo teammate Gautier Paulin (first silverware since round five) from the Monster Energy Yamaha onslaught.
“This weekend was pretty challenging,” Tonus said. “I almost crashed on the last lap and hurt my shoulder a little bit; it was quite sketchy. To be on the podium again is amazing and have Gautier here also is pretty special. We have a great atmosphere in the team. I’m coming forward [in the championship standings] but also not thinking too much about it. I’m super-happy. A fifth podium in a row is amazing and I don't really know what else to say.”
“For a few weeks and months now I haven’t been up here and I struggled,” Paulin offered. “I had a really hard crash in Portugal and didn't have much luck in France and was back on the ground again in Russia, which was a heavy one. It was tough to get back but today was a great day. I felt like the old Gautier Paulin at the end and made the top three happen on the last lap; it makes the podium feel even better.”
Brandmates Jeremy Seewer and Romain Febvre were also roaming at the top of the leaderboard. Seewer equalled a career-best 3rd position in the first race (in his just second MXGP year) and classified 5th overall. No podium celebration for the ever-present Swiss but he maintains 3rd in the world championship standings as the Yamaha ‘contest’ simmers. Just one point separates Seewer from Tonus and Paulin for the main bragging rights in blue.
The MX2 class was battered once more by world champ Jorge Prado as the Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha team waned: Ben Watson breaking his left hand in Free Practice and Jago Geerts suffering a mechanical problem in the second moto that caused his race bike to roll to a halt.
The three consecutive Grand Prix spell between Russia, Latvia and Germany brought an end to another frantic flurry of races and instigated another valuable respite for MXGP. The one-week break is important: teams will need to get fully packed and crated for the Indonesian double-header in the first two weeks of July as the heat cranks up further on 2019.